In this episode of Finnley’s Audio Adventures, we bring you a true treasure from the Golden era of aviation and music. The promotional record from Pan Am, “The Name of the Game is GO,” is a nostalgic journey into the airline’s marketing campaign from 1969. This album is a testament to the innovative spirit of the times and features commercials from the “The Name of the Game is GO” campaign. To top it off, the album even boasts a mesmerizing rendition of the theme song by the legendary Sammy Davis Jr. Get ready to experience the magic of flight and music in a whole new way.
The record sleeve of “The Name of the Game is GO” is a work of art in its own right. Featuring stunning artwork by the renowned artist Henry Syverson, the cover perfectly captures the energy and excitement of Pan Am’s campaign. Henry Syverson was a highly regarded graphic designer and illustrator, who was known for his distinctive style and innovative approach to design. Along with his work on the record sleeve for “The Name of the Game is GO,” Syverson was widely recognized for his contributions to a variety of other publications and works. He was a frequent contributor to magazines, such as Time, Fortune, and The New Yorker, where his illustrations graced their pages. The record sleeve design embodies the spirit of the jet-set era and the limitless possibilities of air travel. From the intricate details to the overall composition, Syverson’s artistry elevates the record to a level of sophistication and timelessness that only adds to its allure.
“The Name of the Game is GO” features a diverse range of musical styles, each cut offering a unique listening experience. From the upbeat pop rock of one track to the lounge-inspired sounds of another, this album showcases the musical versatility of the era. And for those who enjoy something a little more exotic, there are even some tracks with a touch of exotica flavor. But what truly sets this album apart are the somewhat strange and commanding lyrical stylings that run throughout. With lines like “teach the cat to cook” and “be a man not a mouse,” the lyrics are as intriguing as they are memorable.
Flipping the record over to side-B, listeners are treated to a completely different musical experience. The orchestral arrangements on this side of the album offer a more sophisticated and refined sound, providing a stark contrast to the pop and exotica flavors of side-A. The highlight of side-B is the track sung by the legendary Sammy Davis Jr. His smooth, soulful voice adds an extra layer of charm to the already captivating soundscape. Another standout on this side is the jazz arrangement by Steve Allen, showcasing his virtuosic skills on the piano.
This record plays at 33⅓ revolutions per minute (RPM), the standard speed for long-playing records of the era. For those with older equipment, this record can also be played on mono systems. It was made in the USA and the matrix code X4RS-1313-1A is engraved in the runout groove, serving as a unique identifier for this specific pressing.
“The Name of the Game is GO” tries to deliver on a rich stereo mix and immersive soundstage, with clear separation between the various instruments and vocal parts. Ultimately it did suffer from some mastering and mixing problems. The stereo soundstage is not centered correctly, and some tracks have a 13.5KHz high frequency whine throughout, affecting the overall listening experience. The last track on side-A, a medley of Japanese, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, was obviously taken from different recording sessions and possibly different recording studios, as the same high frequency whine can be heard throughout parts. Additionally, the splices in this recording are obvious and sometimes jarring, making for a less-than-optimal listening experience. Despite these technical issues, “The Name of the Game is GO” remains an interesting and unique listening experience, offering a glimpse into aviation and commercials of the late 1960s.
For your enjoyment, each cut of the record has been included below.
Prior to recording, the record underwent ultrasonic cleaning to eliminate any surface contaminants. Afterwards, each track underwent thorough processing to eliminate unwanted audio artifacts such as pops, clicks, subsonic hum, high-frequency ringing, incorrect phasing, and soundstage issues.